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-   -   Hop Utilization with a hop sock (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/hop-utilization-hop-sock-380477/)

HellBound 01-11-2013 02:11 AM

Hop Utilization with a hop sock
So I've recently noticed a slightly diminished utilization in my beers. I know that I should see that with the use of the bag in my boil, but how much less are we talking?

Case in point, I have a house amber that normally has a clean hop crispness. These last 2 batches of it, it seems like it's in the background of the beer.

IXVolt 01-11-2013 03:39 AM

The other factor is the freshness of the hops you are using. Are they stored in a freezer? as little air as possible to them? Sunlight? etc.

HellBound 01-11-2013 03:43 AM

I brew the day I get them from my LHBS and they are in freezer there. I know that would play a role, but considering that's where I always source all my product, I doubt much. I think it's really a matter of the hop sock.

Kinda wondering if there's some known ratio to expect for losses. Like .75 oz gets used for every 1 oz boiled with a mesh sock

naga77777 01-11-2013 12:25 PM

Well, carp.

I Just brewed an IPA, and thought "i'm gonna use a muslin bag to control all this pellet hop gunk that usually eats a beer or two due to trub loss." Overheard a LHBS employee recommend the practice.

Had never occurred that I'd lose utilization. Not a good thing with an IPA.

interested to hear some other opinions; subscribed.

Fennis 01-11-2013 12:41 PM

You know what? Now that I think about it, I've made a few of the same pale ale batches using Brewer's Gold hops. The first two times I brewed it, I didn't use a hop sock and it had a nice sharp bite to it. The last time I brewed it, the hops were mellowed out and not nearly as sharp, but I used a hop sock, and I was wondering if I had done something wrong or didn't use as many hops, but its always been a kit recipe so everything gets measured out for me. You may have something there...

Xpertskir 01-11-2013 01:50 PM

I think far too many people run and use a device to quarantine their hop matter.

IMO you should have a reason to do this, not "just because". Its beyond proven that hop matter in your fermenter will not do any harm to the beer.
If you are using a plate chiller or piece of equipment in your process that is sensitive to particulate in your wort, then by all means you should be doing something to make that piece of equipment function better(this has actually lead me to avoid such products, and I use a chiller in this vein).

There will be people on here that argue there is no difference in utilization, but I have yet to see that backed up with lab testing. Id rather KISS and not create a potential problem for myself by doing more work.

I personally use a strainer when sending my wort to the fermenter which does an adequate job. The only reason I do it is that I would rather my fermenter hold wort than hop matter.

Also OP, those hops from the HBS were all harvested at the same time, and regardless of how cold they are stored they will lose something as time goes on. You were likely brewing with last years harvest, depending on the hops you used.

badhabit 01-11-2013 04:06 PM

There have been tons of threads on the use or avoiding the use of the hops bag. At one point a number of years ago I tried brewing an APA splitting the batch between use of the bag and no bag. I couldn't taste a notable difference and my family members were unable to tell any difference at all. Not what I would call science but my clean up is easier ever since.

unionrdr 01-11-2013 05:51 PM

Same here,no real big difference,quite minor. I even saw a vid where NB still had hops for sale from 2010. They by so much,it sits around for a while. I like the hop bags,less mess & if you don't put more than one ounce in it,it should flow fine. I also strain going into the FV.

HellBound 01-11-2013 06:34 PM

First off thanks for the replies.

After reviewing my process on those last 2 batches, I think it's because I added all hop additions in the same hop sack. Versus a few different sacks throughout the boil. It maybe a little extra to clean, but I feel it balances out with strain time. I strain before FV also, but it's easier without all the hop sludge in the kettle.

Strange how it took me 2 years of brewing to notice a difference.

daksin 01-11-2013 07:12 PM

I don't see any intuitive reason a bag should reduce hop utilization. After a few minutes in boiling wort (and the temperature isn't any different inside the bag) 100% of the oils and other compounds we're looking for should be totally extracted and dispersed throughout the wort. After that, who cares where the vegetable matter is?

That said, if you're using tons of LEAF hops and you get a big ball of hops that doesn't get even access to the boiling wort, sure, you could miss out on some utilization due to the slower extraction of oils, but that's just a matter of not using a big enough bag.

Does anybody have any good data on this? I've seen the 5% number tossed around, so that must have come from somewhere.

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